by Dorina Kánya, 2011
E-learning is considered to be a consequence of the development of technology. The concept refers to learning with the help of electronic devices such as a computer, an mp3 player or a voice recorder. The Internet also played an important role in the appearance of this way of learning, as it made information available for people all over the world.
With the help of computers and the use of the Internet distance learning became possible, it means that people do not have to take distances to attend their lessons, they only have to switch on the computer and search for the information they need. Although it makes life more convenient and easier, it destroys personal contact between people. But I think today we do not have to bother about this problem, as e-learning is not achieved yet. This method has to go through different steps till it reaches the final stage. The first step is called "no E-learning", when no electronic devices are used for education. Another step is "classroom aids", which means that the teacher makes presentations with the help of Powerpoint and similar programs, and makes it available for students through a course web site or learning management system. "Laptop programs" form the next group, in which students have to bring their laptops to class. When the time spent in classrooms is reduced, and students devote more time to online learning is called "hybrid learning", while the last step is about online learning only.
E-learning is based on two different communication technologies:synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous activites involve the exchange of ideas and information with one or more participants during the same period of time. Asynchronous activities use technologies such as blogs, wikis and discussion boards. In this case participants do not have to depend on the others, people do not discuss the issues at the same time. In virtual classrooms or during meetings these technologies can be mixed. In his case participants can express their feelings with using different emoticons and they can also respond to the questions of the others.
The use of computers and Internet in learning is growing more and more popular in developed countries, but in my opinion it has serious effects on personal connections among people. I agree that it can make our life easier, but it is worth thinking about what is more important: real friendship or convenience.